Why Convenience Pays Dividends with Clients

Jan 29, 2019

When I read a book synopsis like this, it catches my attention: “Customers will pay for convenience. And they’ll choose to do more business with the people and companies that make their lives more convenient!”

The book, The Convenience Revolution, features multiple examples from big name companies like Amazon, Starbucks, PayPal, Panera Bread and Dollar Shave Club, as well as small businesses. Author Shep Hyken describes 6 principles and how they can revolutionize organizations: reducing friction, self-service, technology, subscription, delivery and access.

I’d like to hone in on the two principles that I think offer the most opportunity to our industry.

Reducing friction

Hyken says that the reducing friction principle “encompasses and summarizes the other five.” It is not surprising that customers, clients, members (whatever you call them) do not like friction. If an interaction feels like extra work, burdensome, or annoying, that means it is full of friction. I’m sure we can all list times where we experienced more friction than ease in an interaction. And we’re probably not referring their services to anyone.

The book’s prime example of how to reduce friction is Uber, which successfully removed the friction a taxicab customer experiences. You no longer have to wait for a cab to drive down the street or call ahead and wait for it to arrive. You also don’t have to hope that you have enough cash for the fare or that the cab accepts credit cards. There is no stress about how much to tip. All of that friction is gone.

A key point here is that Uber did not invent the car, or mobile apps, but they removed friction from an experience and became majorly disruptive to an entire industry. What’s cool is that being innovative doesn’t mean you have to “invent” something; you just need to focus on your customer and removing friction from their experience.

Advisors could reduce friction in a variety of ways:

  • Offer access to online scheduling tools to help eliminate “phone tag” situations that lead to delays
  • Put together a quick reference guide on where to access certain documents your clients don’t necessarily have at their fingertips – things you need to support the formulation of advice. For example, a social security document or insurance plan information
  • Ask your clients. The best way to figure out what friction to reduce for clients is to ask them. The book makes this very clear: The client is the expert, so ask the expert.

Access

As financial advisors, you have deep personal relationships with clients. You are helping them navigate some of the most difficult situations life can throw at people. You must be accessible – but it should be *their* definition of accessible, not yours. Access is anything from physical location to communication methods. Do they prefer to communicate via text or over the phone? Do they want to have meetings in your office (or theirs), or at home? Nights? Weekends? At their kid’s soccer tournament?

Meeting the customer where they want to be met is key to Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s success, as the book points out. They execute their tagline, “We’ll pick you up,” every day. My personal experience with Enterprise attests to that.

My family enjoys camping. We have an RV that we pack all of us into and drive to different campgrounds all over the country. We do not tow a car; we rent one from Enterprise when we get to our destination. They pick one of us up at the campground and take us to their nearest location, which is usually within 20 minutes. That is not surprising, since Enterprise has locations within 15 miles of 90% of the US population (one of the book’s many fun facts). We pick up the rental and drive back. Enterprise’s dedication to convenience through providing high levels of access allows them to tap nontraditional customers that need to rent a car, like a family that loves to camp.

The power of convenience

Why is convenience so powerful? It spans the entire lifecycle of your relationship with your clients. Customers appreciate the ease in which they can interact with you – and good experiences make for loyal customers (and those are the people who will give you referrals).

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